Paranoia works as a thriller. It has enough tense moments and good performances to keep things moving smoothly through its running time, playing like Wall Street meets Enemy of the State for the Y generation. Robert Luketic’s film is not as good as either of those titles, but it does feature a pair of great performances from Harrison Ford and Gary Oldman.
Paranoia follows Liam Hemsworth’s Adam Cassidy, a young upstart hired by Nicholas Wyatt (Gary Oldman) to spy on the telecommunications company of his rival and former mentor, Jock Goddard (Harrison Ford). Along the way Adam falls in love with a co-worker (Amber Heard) and learns that trust and honour are two things lacking in the world of big business – and he also becomes paranoid.
Luketic’s film is wish fulfilment for the youth of today and it’s a film that is filled with dubious morals. Hemsworth’s Cassidy inherits the lifestyle (and its trappings) that he always dreamed about, but only turns his back on it when he gets caught ‘with his hand in the cookie jar’. Is Adam really any better than the people he believes to be crooks?
Paranoia feels like a movie that was supposed to be aimed at a more mature audience, but then things were changed once Hemsworth (and his tween market) came onboard. Any grit, or weightiness appears to have been removed and the film comes across as a little more simplistic than it should have. The scenes with Oldman and Ford have a lot of bite, but they feel neutered by the rest of the movie – like drinking champagne with McDonalds. Hemsworth is decent enough, but he doesn’t have the gravitas to pull-off the role of someone succeeding in big business. His brother Chris would have have been more suitable making him a stronger foil for the Air Force One duo. They love to chew the scenery, and the film’s finest moments are when the pair face-off against each other. This makes Paranoia feel disjointed, as if Robert Luketic shot the movie and then decided to edit it for The Hunger Games market. A harder edge would have made Paranoia much more satisfying.
For the most part, Paranoia works – but it’s frustrating knowing that this had greater potential.
Paranoia comes with some deleted scenes and a few (short) behind the scenes documentaries. They’re decent, but like the film, they could have been better.